Investigating Arabic Pragmatic Markers in Spoken Discourse: A Literature Review

Yaseen Azi


Generally speaking, the current paper demonstrates a detailed and critical exploration of Arabic pragmatic markers (PMs) in spoken discourse. Although there seems to be less agreement on the topic of the particular phenomena that the current study is addressing, my study will use the term PM instead of discourse marker (DM). For clarity, it should be identified that a PMs in this study is “most commonly used as a general or umbrella term covering forms with a wide variety of functions both on the interpersonal and textual levels” (Zienkowski, Östman, & Verschueren, 2011, p. 227); therefore, DMs or any other linguistic elements with discourse functions are considered as a subtype of a PM (see Fraser, 2009; Aijmer,2013). Based on the literature review, treating the phenomena as PMs will provide us with a more comprehensive approach towards the study of that particular phenomena in Arabic dialects; such an approach does not only focus on texts, but also incorporates social, cultural, and linguistic aspects of the contexts into our analysis of the phenomena. Briefly, the structure of this paper will be divided into the following sections: a definition of pragmatic markers, theoretical approaches of PMs, PMs in the Arabic literature, variations in Arabic, a variational pragmatic approach and PMs, treatment of PMs in Arabic literature, PMs in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), PMs in Dialectal Arabic, and conclusion.

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